SEATTLE- Before Jimmy Graham's 140-yard effort in Seattle's Week 6 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the last time the Seahawks had a player top the 140-yard mark in the regular season came in Pete Carroll's first year as head coach, when Matt Hasselbeck was the quarterback and Ben Obomanu was the receiver in a 2010 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Graham's 140 yards receiving on Sunday at CenturyLink Field were the most he's recorded since coming to the Seahawks in an offseason trade with the New Orleans Saints. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end was targeted a game-high 12 times by quarterback Russell Wilson and he hauled in eight of those balls, a number that ties the franchise record for most grabs in a single game by a Seahawks tight end (John Carlson).
"No question that they made some plays together," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of the Wilson-to-Graham connection against Carolina. "They made some terrific plays on rhythm, too. Jimmy had a terrific football game and Russell found him a bunch. That's the tremendous player that he is."
Five of Graham's eight catches went for first downs, two of which helped the team move the chains on third down. Those same five catches all measured 16 yards or more, which is noteworthy because it's a number the Seahawks use as a benchmark to categorize 'explosive' pass plays. Graham had a 16-yarder that helped set up a first quarter field goal, a 25-yarder that helped set up a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, a 27-yarder the play before Wilson's flea-flicker touchdown pass to Ricardo Lockette, and a game-long 45-yarder on a drive that finished in three more Seahawks points.
"Obviously, he's a big time threat," Wilson said after the game. "He made a lot of plays tonight. You can obviously see what he can do. He can do it on a consistent basis."
Also impressive in Graham's performance was the way he worked to get open when Wilson moved outside of the pocket in an attempt to avoid the Panthers pass rush. It's been an area the pair has looked to improve upon knowing the big plays that can come when Wilson tries to extend a play with his legs.
"The really encouraging thing is that that's the first time we've really seen Jimmy in the scramble situations really come to life," Carroll said. "He played a fantastic game."
Graham pushed his 2015 numbers to 29 catches on 39 targets for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all team highs. He also eclipsed the 5,000-yard career receiving mark on Sunday in what was his first 100-plus-yard day since Week 2 of last year, a good sign for a Seattle offense that was going against one of the NFL's better teams at defending opposing tight ends.
"The great thing is that we have so many other guys, too," Wilson said. "I think part of my job is to continue to try to find ways to get the ball to those guys too as well, and Jimmy, and there's so many different options.
"Once we click, I really believe that it's going to be hard to stop us. I'm not going to change my mind on that."
The Seahawks versus Panthers game ended 27-23 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. Take a look at the game action photos from the game.